In the West for nearly 1,000 years, the relationship of (Anglo-European) Christian churches to the broader culture was a relationship known as "Christendom." The institutions of society "Christianized" people, and stigmatized non-Christian belief and behavior. Though people were "Christianized" by the culture, they were not regenerated or converted with the Gospel. The church's job was then to challenge persons into a vital, living relation with Christ.
We have talked together about the way many of those who embraced the concept of themissio dei - or at least, embraced the expression - seemed to propel the church out of the missionary conversation entirely. Needless to say, those were extreme views. And it would be silly to assume that proponents of the missio dei hold such views today. But, it is also silly not to consider what happened when the missio dei got confused. This was not a theoretical happening. We need to be careful to avoid the error by taking the best of the discussion and guarding from the errors.